Portugal has a new wave of modern wine making, combining an open minded approach with established traditions, to make serious white and red wines.

Old vines, hardy indigenous varieties and high altitude produce fresh, complex wines in areas like the Douro and Dao.

Portugal is a diverse country with many landscapes and wine regions. A fantastic book to inspire wine tourism is The Wine and Food Lovers’ Guide to Portugal by UK wine experts, Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirter. Buy on Amazon.

Wines of Portugal held a dinner recently at Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes‘ restaurant Corner Room at Town Hall Hotel in east London.

The wines were from the Portuguese Top 50 2012. Two standout recommendations were:

Wine & Soul, Guru, 2008. One of the best Portuguese white wines: rich, elegant, complex and subtle. Made with real skill from some of the most beautiful vineyards in the Douro. A couple of lines from this family producer are available from UK merchant Corney & Barrow.
Julia Kemper, TN, 2008. Another family estate run by a female lawyer, using the red Port grape varieties to make a spicy, mineral, fresh, multi-faceted wine. A perfect match for pork. The town of Mealhada is famous for suckling pig. Some Julia Kemper wines are available from Corking Wines.

Other Portuguese wine recommendations are:

Quinta do Crasto, Reserva, £18.50, The Wine Society. Heft and elegance in equal measure give a big, luscious red from ‘field blend’ varieties (whatever grows). One of the most consistent producers in the stunning Douro Valley, with a swimming pool to die for.

The white wine from Quinta do Crasto is also excellent, from Adnams.

To buy Portuguese wines on the high street, UK supermarket Waitrose has a well established range, as does Majestic.

For more information on Portuguese wines, see the ViniPortugal website.

(photo – Loan89 / Flickr Creative Commons)

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